Public spending amid the coronavirus crisis has risen to nearly £190bn, the Treasury’s latest figures have disclosed.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a £30bn package to combat economic damage from the pandemic in his summer statement on Wednesday, bringing the total spending to nearly £190bn.
Mr Sunak also revealed that before the latest measures, direct spending on the crisis had risen to £158.7bn.
Many businesses expressed support for the Chancellor’s priority of saving jobs. However, some industries facing a crisis, such aviation, said they had been overlooked.
Meanwhile, politicians in Leicester, where government orders have forced many businesses to remain shut due to a local outbreak, were angered by the “brutal” lack of extra help for the city.
The Treasury’s total spending is nearly £3,000 for every person in the UK. It amounts to more than the entire planned health budget for 2020-21.
This rise in spending means the cost of the crisis has risen by more than 40% since last month, when it was estimated at £133bn by government’s spending watchdog, the Office for Budget Responsibility.
The new spending will likely push the deficit above the OBR’s latest estimate of around £300bn, according to the influential Institute for Fiscal Studies think tank.
Before the coronavirus crisis began in the UK, the government had been expecting a deficit of £55bn.
The Treasury announced that £15bn of the new expenditure would go on buying personal protective equipment – such as gloves and masks.
The spending also includes £10bn for testing and tracing infected people. The total extra spending on health services has now risen to £32bn.
“There is a huge public services additional spending that we didn’t really know about that was announced (on Wednesday). It was kind of skated over, but £15bn for PPE for frontline workers is an enormous sum,” Paul Johnson, director of the IFS, told the BBC.